Results from AID-supported Nebraska research to improve the nutritional quality of wheat indicate that substantial genetic variation for grain protein content exists in wheat. Experimental lines with 5% higher protein in their grain than ordinary varieties have been selected from a high-protein × high-protein cross. Genetic variability for lysine in wheat grain is limited. The genetic component of total lysine variability among 12,600 wheats in the USDA World Collection was only 0.5%. Genetic increases in lysine ranging from 0.4 to 0.7% lysine have been identified in selections from a high-lysine × high-lysine cross. Lysine per unit protein is negatively correlated with protein content. In contrast, lysine per unit weight of grain is positively correlated with protein content suggesting that increasing the protein content of wheat can effectively increase the amount of lysine in the grain. Seed fractionation studies have determined that high protein in whole wheat results mainly from increased protein content of the starchy endosperm. Lysine differences were detected both in the endosperm and non-endosperm fractions. A new productive high-protein hard winter wheat variety derived from Atlas-66, with genetic potential for 2% higher grain protein content was released to growers by the Agricultural Research Service, USDA and the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station in 1975.
KeywordsWinter Wheat Common Wheat High Protein Content Lysine Content Wheat Protein
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